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Methods of Treatment for Water Contaminants


Source of Legionella

In July 1976, there was an outbreak of pneumonia effecting 221 people attending the annual Pennsylvania American Legion convention at the Bellvue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Out of the 221 people infected, 34 died. It wasn't until December 1977 that microbiologists were able to isolate a bacterium from the autopsy of the lung tissue bf one of the legionnaires. The bacterium was named "Legionella pneumophila" (Legionella in honor of the American Legion, and pneumophila which is Greek for "lung-loving") and was found to be completely different from other bacteria. Unlike patients with other pneumonias, patients with legionnaire's disease often have severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The US EPA has not set a MCL (maximum contamination level) for Legionella, instead it has outlined the treatment method which must be followed and the MCLG is 0 mg/l.

Treatment of Legionella

Chemical oxidation-disinfection followed by retention, then filtration could be used. Since Legionella is a bacteria, Reverse osmosis or Ultrafiltration are the preferred removal techniques.

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